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Digital Learning Specialist and one of The Tech Chicks

One thing my husband has

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One thing my husband has always pushed with our own children and then with his students that I think is very powerful is not allowing kids to stay, "I can't." Instead they can say, "I'm having trouble with," or "I need help with" but they don't say they can't. Just that one little switch not only puts them in the frame of mind that they may just have to work a little harder on that topic/project, but as the teacher or parent, we don't feel the exasperation of the "can't" and actually feel more like you want to help overcome the obstacle. If a student just "can't" then there's no sense in helping. But if they have trouble with, then you are more inclined to want to help them get past that. All semantics but words are powerful.

Great post!

K-5 Instructional Technology Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

There's a big piece here

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There's a big piece here about mindset. I love the power of adding the word "yet" to the end of these kinds of statements. When students learn that hard work will get them to their goals, they hav e a real shift in attitude.

Agreed. Great piece. I had

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Agreed. Great piece. I had a student scream to me last week, "I can't read!" when I asked him to read the first word of a list of adjectives. I didn't ask him, "Why?" But I did ask him to read another word on the paper. When he said, "The" I said, "Oh, you can read. Now let's try this word again."

I also like his suggestion for student-defined words.

6th Gr Core LA/SS teacher

Clarify vs Stagnate I am a

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Clarify vs Stagnate

I am a big believer in there are no stupid question, only paths to understanding the material being presented. Yes, some students do test what can be considered stupid (quantity over quality) but my non-answers to those questions assist them in realizing that they won't get to hear their voice.

I've found answering the student's questions with clarifying questions of my own give them the opportunity to explore the material in ways they were never prepared to in previous grades.

Adult Literacy Educator, Atlanta

Great piece. I always

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Great piece. I always appreciate how you balance the need to work toward institutional change while still working for change on an individual student basis. We can do both.
"Why?" asked with a sincere, inquisitive look, is my favorite tool. A lot of my students haven't experienced that level of interaction with a teacher before. They're sometimes startled. Yet, it opens up a conversation and shows that I expect them to think about how, what, and why they learn.

High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Jose, great post. I agree

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Hi Jose, great post. I agree with your reasoning, and I think some of your strategies sounds excellent. Another lie that I hear often is 'I'll try harder next time.' In some cases, students seem to say this just to get teachers of their backs - they have no intention of trying harder. I think that this is not because they don't want to, but for most of them it is because they don't know how to. They don't have the skills necessary to do better - that's where I think we, as teachers, need to come in.

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